Syrian rebels reportedly release nuns held since December
At least a dozen Greek Orthodox nuns kidnapped by Syrian rebels near Damascus in December were released on Sunday, according to Syria's official news agency and Lebanese media reports.
The state-run Syrian news outlet reported that the nuns had been freed and were due to arrive at a Syrian border crossing with Lebanon.
Media accounts indicated that the nuns had been released near the rebel-held Syrian city of Yabroud and transported to the Lebanese border town of Arsaal. The nuns had reportedly been held for months in Yabroud, which is now the focus of a Syrian military offensive.
A Lebanese security delegation was reportedly set to take the nuns back to Syria through an official border crossing at Jdaidet Yabous, on the Syrian side of the frontier. The nuns were then expected to be transported to Damascus, the Syrian capital.
News outlets quoted Syrian Greek Orthodox Bishop Louka al-Khoury, who was at the Syrian border crossing, as confirming the nuns' release and crediting Syrian authorities for their liberation.
The delicate negotiations that led to the nuns' release reportedly involved Syrian and Lebanese officials, as well as representatives of the gulf nation of Qatar, which has long been a major backer of various Syrian rebel factions.
The nuns were kidnapped in December from the St. Thecla Monastery in the historic Christian town of Maaloula, north of Damascus. Islamist rebels overran the town, long a center of Christian pilgrimage.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.